General Industry

Winterval Tenth Birthday Celebratory Programme Announced

By Dave Simpson
Winterval Tenth Birthday Celebratory Programme Announced

Waterford will host the tenth annual Winterval festival from 18 November to 23 December, and details of the country’s first Christmas parade have been unveiled alongside the festival’s biggest programme of events yet.


The festival will commence at 5pm on 18 November with the arrival of Santa Claus, as part of Ireland’s first Christmas parade. The parade will traverse through the city centre, coming to a stop at the main stage on Michael Street, where the lights will be switched on, marking the beginning of the festivities in Waterford City.

The organisers of the annual festival have planned a tenth birthday celebration for each weekend of the festival, with unique highlights set to include the Jingle Bells Christmas Cycle, the Christmas Tractor Parade, the Blue Light Parade, with all of the emergency services, SuirCon Comic Conference and BuskAid, with proceeds going to Tinteán Housing Association.

There is also a plethora of free events on the programme. These include a gigantic and magical talking postbox, wherein children can post their Christmas letters and be entertained by an elf post collection show each weekend, a hall of magic mirrors, a host of free children’s workshops, and a free shadow puppet show, plus the magic lights of the New Street Garden trail, filled with wondrous displays for families to explore. The Winterval light show will be projected onto a magical, purpose-built castle, placed as the entry point to the festival. This will be on offer every half-hour and includes special effects.

Winterval firm favourites will also be on offer across the city, from the ice rink on the city’s Quayside to the vintage Ferris wheel at Arundel Square and a vintage carousel. The Waterford Eye is also back, as is the reimagined Winterval Mini-Express train, and, in addition, there are some brand-new elements, including a virtual ride in Santa’s sleigh, plus a wizard-and-dragon interactive exhibition, which offers the thrill of seeing fictitious characters brought to life through simulations, gigantic animatronics, and visuals.


Santa will be taking centre stage at the festival in the heart of the city, on Broad Street. He will be ensconced in Santa’s Central Station, where a band of merry elves will lead little ones to the door of Santa’s magical cabin and families can meander through Santa’s city centre installation, taking pictures in photo scenes along the way.

There will be live music on stage each weekend in Waterford’s Cultural Quarter, featuring a mix of community and professional acts, serving as the perfect backdrop to the festival market.

The Winterval Christmas market will be set out in a series of wooden chalets through the spine of Waterford City into the Cultural Quarter, spanning the Viking city from George’s Street to Hanover Street, and on to Gladstone Street, and all in the midst of the Winterval family fun attractions. The market will connect with Waterford Crafts at Garter Lane Gallery, encompassing a variety of over 100 food, drink, craft and gift producers and creators.

Waterford’s heritage takes prime position, with Déise Medieval hosting a traditional Viking settlement, where festival-goers can hark back in time and enjoy the real-life smells, foods and experiences of Viking life during the festive season.

Brand-new and novel elements include an opportunity for visitors to book a date for their dogs with Santa Paws, plus the Gerbola Circus will be hosting a festive show each weekend, and a Winterval-by-night programme will be on offer at the Reg, alongside the World Cup fan zone, as well as Christmas concerts at the cathedral and music at Waterford Crystal.


Statement By Co-Directors

Speaking at the programme launch, co-directors Trevor Darmody and John Grubb said, “Winterval is part Continental Christmas market and part Lapland, and this year we are very excited to unveil the largest celebration of the festival yet, for the tenth birthday of Winterval. Winterval is the largest celebration of the festive season in Ireland, and this year there is a trail through Ireland’s oldest city, offering over 50 different events and activities, with 14 of those events on offer free of charge.

“This is a festival which is on a comparable basis to the best Continental festivals, and it had been reduced over the last couple of years due to the pandemic, however, Winterval 2022 is filled with festive cheer, and it is set to be the biggest festival yet.”

Full Programme

The full Winterval festival programme is available to view and book online at

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